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Allergic To Hot Tub?


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I'm getting very frustrated here and am really hoping someone can help/shed some light on my issues.

We got our tub on Oct of '09 - the Arctic Spa's Summit Legend Bromine system. Set it up and had to drain it and have the onzen system replaced as it wasn't producing Bromine - while it was filled the first time I had no issues when I got in.

The replaced the Onzen system at the end of October/beginning of Nov and we re-filled it. Got all levels regulated and started using the Aqua finesse - everything was fine then too.

Had to add water the middle of December just before our hoses froze for the winter which threw all levels off for a while - have since managed to get the levels right again BUT......

Tub is cloudy and won't clear up AND since the middle of December I have started being covered in a rash I just can't seem to get rid of. It started on my legs and has now spread up my trunk. I had it cleared up almost this week and decided to go back into the tub again last night and it's back in full force - it's red and bumpy and incredibly itchy.

I'm really hoping I'm not allergic to the hot tub - none of the rest of my family seems to be having an issue..... jsut me.

Please help

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I'm sorry you've been having such problems. See this link to determine if this rash is from a chemical reaction or from a bacterial infection. Since the symptoms came on so quickly, it sounds more like a chemical reaction. Have you tested your chemical levels with a good test kit? Since you are using Aqua Finesse, I would assume that there is very little calcium in the water, but you still need to check the pH, Total Alkalinity (TA) and most importantly the bromine level. Maybe that level got to high since the Onzen system just continues to output and is not self-regulating (i.e. you have to adjust it to match your bather load).

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  • 2 weeks later...

And we finally have some answers!!

Apparently they think the 'rash' I have has been caused by the low bromine levels in the tub - bacteria they think it is.

They had us take the cover off the spot where the bromine bubbles come out of and it was packed full of flaky white gunk and couldn't push anything out - apparently they are having major problems with the onzen system in hard water area's and because of that are just trying to get approved a removable salt cell so people can clean it. Until that happens we are going with either bromine or chlorine tablets in the tub as removing the gunk didn't increase our bromine reading - it's still dropping. They have told us they would set us up with the removable salt cell once it comes in!

I really do wish someone at Arctic had told us they were having such troubles with the onzen system in hard water area's before we bought - we would most likely stuck with the chlorine system!!

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You can probably get your system working if you clean the cell and get your chemistry balanced.

If necessary, you can use a water softener to lower your calcium. For making bromine with the Onzen, I recommend that you use the sodium chloride salt as the primary salt and use only 30 to 50 ppm sodium bromide.

You should use regular, unscented Clorox bleach to get bromine until you get the Onzen figured out.

What are all of your chemistry readings for your hot tub water and your tap water?

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Since you are using Aqua Finesse, I would assume that there is very little calcium in the water,

I think that Aqua Finesse's claims related to controlling calcium are based on sequestration or chelation. Most likely, it uses EDTA.

I don't think that Aqua Finesse is removing any calcium. If it were, you would see a precipitation as with using phosphate to remove calcium.

Many chelators and sequestrants break down in salt cells. The calcium is still in the water and is still going to cause scale based on the CSI. People still need to check their pH, TA and calcium despite any claims by anyone to the contrary.

Reference: Chelator-Induced Dispersal and Killing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Cells in a Biofilm.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1393226/

[Edit] Clarification: I am specifically talking about Aqua Finesse's claims when I say "People still need to check their pH, TA and calcium despite any claims by anyone (Aqua Finesse) to the contrary."

Aqua Finesse seems to be making claims to people that they don't need to do anything other than pour in their magical elixir and their water will magically remain perfect.

I don't like it when companies sell products that have hidden ingredients. I like to know how things work so that I can properly evaluate them. [End Edit]

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So do you recommend NOT using Aquafinesse?? The water tech I've been dealing with didn't mention using it - he's jsut told us to get the PH and TA right, drop in the pucks with the dispenser then use 3 to 4 caps of refresh each week for 3 to 4 weeks.

Our onzen system is still not working so they have switched us over to bromine pucks and we've turned the CP to 0 as it's not doing anything - it dropped from .4 to .3 to .11 in less then a week even after we cleaned out the cell. They have also suggested we keep our PH at 7.2 and TA at 80 and the BR at 5 - we are taking a sample in today but from the test strips I believe the PH is around 7.4 and AK are around 100.

I didn't realize owning a hot tub would be SO much work!!

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So do you recommend NOT using Aquafinesse??

I wouldn't use it because I don't know what it is and I don't have a trusted reference that says it is a good thing to use.

You should only use it if you have confidence in the people who are advising you to use it. You will have to decide if you think that they know what they are doing or not. It doesn't sound like their advice is working out too well.

They have also suggested we keep our PH at 7.2 and TA at 80 and the BR at 5 - we are taking a sample in today but from the test strips I believe the PH is around 7.4 and AK are around 100.

The first thing you need to do is get a good test kit. I recommend the Taylor K-2106 for bromine. You should keep your pH at about 7.6 to 7.8. You should keep your TA wherever it keeps you pH stable.

I didn't realize owning a hot tub would be SO much work!!

I understand your frustration. They really are not too much work once you start following good procedures.

Read this post.

Here are my recommendations:

01) Do a decontamination procedure as described here.

02) Fill with water that has less than 100 ppm of calcium.

03) Balance your pH and TA. pH = 7.6 to 7.8, TA = as needed to maintain pH.

04) Add 50 ppm borates from boric acid.

05) Add 2,174 ppm sodium chloride. (2,174 grams per 1,000 liters).

06) Add 65 ppm sodium bromide. (65 grams per 1000 liters of water)

07) Use regular, unscented Clorox bleach to oxidize the bromide to bromine. Initially bring your bromine level to 10-ppm. 7.2 ml per 1,000 liters = 1.0 ppm bromine.

08) Use Onzen to maintain between 2.0 and 5.0 ppm of bromine at all times.

09) Use regular, unscented Clorox bleach or MPS on a regular basis based on tub usage.*

10) Do not use Aqua Finesse.

11) Make sure to keep your CSI below -0.15 at all times. Use thepoolcalculator to calculate your CSI.

12) Read Nitro's Approach to water maintenance andChlorine Demand.

Since this is a new tub, you should expect the dealer and manufacturer to support you and give you a good solution. You need to work with them to make sure that you do not void your warranty. You need to work with them to figure out why your Onzen isn't working and to make sure it gets fixed.

Make sure that you give plenty of time between additions of different chemicals. Chemicals need time to mix and react before the next chemical is added.

*

The rough rule of thumb (without an ozonator) is that every person-hour of soaking in a hot (100-104F) spa needs around 5 fluid ounces of 6% bleach or 3-1/2 teaspoons of Dichlor or 7 teaspoons of non-chlorine shock (MPS) to oxidize the bather waste. - chem geek
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So do you recommend NOT using Aquafinesse?? The water tech I've been dealing with didn't mention using it - he's jsut told us to get the PH and TA right, drop in the pucks with the dispenser then use 3 to 4 caps of refresh each week for 3 to 4 weeks.

Our onzen system is still not working so they have switched us over to bromine pucks and we've turned the CP to 0 as it's not doing anything - it dropped from .4 to .3 to .11 in less then a week even after we cleaned out the cell. They have also suggested we keep our PH at 7.2 and TA at 80 and the BR at 5 - we are taking a sample in today but from the test strips I believe the PH is around 7.4 and AK are around 100.

I didn't realize owning a hot tub would be SO much work!!

Hello,

I am sorry you are having trouble with you onzen system. I want to see what we can do to help. Can you pm me your name and spa serial number?

Kind regards,

James

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  • 11 years later...

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